Posted by: Kath Usitalo | December 1, 2010

Homemade: For The Kiddies

“What I Saw on Mackinac” by Jennifer Margaret Powell is a colorful little book that would make a nice gift for young ones learning to read and count, or kids you want to confuse the heck out of, starting with the title of the book.

Any child of reading age knows that a word ending in “c” (as in Mackinac) does not rhyme with the “aw” sound.

Yet there it is on the cover: What I Saw on Mackinac. It looks like What I Saw on Mack-in-Ack. But it’s not. It’s Mack-in-aw. Because.

After you’ve spent 10 minutes explaining this to your tot, you turn to a rhyming description of the island in the Straits of Mackinac. Jennifer illustrates 10 scenes with cool collages she handcrafted by layering different color papers.

The counting begins with the one and only Grand Hotel, and covers landmarks and special sights of the island: three ferry lines, six fudge shops (I think she missed a dozen of those), eight miles of roadway around the island, and so on.

Jennifer, a teacher and lifelong artist, grew up in Michigan, spent summers on Mackinac Island, and now lives with her husband, sons and pets in Mackinac County in the U.P. This is her first book, and she has a second one in the works.

The 32-page, full color, hardcover book is available for $9.95 from Mackinac Straits Publishing, LLC or the following indy bookstores: Book World, St. Ignace; Horizon Books, Petoskey and Traverse City; Log Mark Bookstore, Cheboygan; McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey.

Just be prepared when a curious kid asks where you catch one of those ferries to the island, and you’ll have to explain that some boats leave from St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula (aka the U.P.) and some ferries leave from Mackinaw (yes, spelled with an aw that actually sounds like “aw“) City, which is located in the Lower Peninsula (but no one calls it the L.P.).

Or maybe I’m the only one who has trouble with these things. 



  1. What a fun book! I was on the island this summer for the first time since high school – got to go with my daughter and granddaughter. Miss Kenzie is just the right age for this book – on to the Christmas list it goes 🙂

    • Great to support creative Michigan folks!

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